Ibiza forest fire ‘started by beekeeper’ forces evacuation of British tourists

Ibiza forest fire ‘started by beekeeper’ forces evacuation of British tourists

27 May 2011

published by www.metro.co.uk

Spain — The worst fire ever recorded on the Mediterranean resort is now into it’s third day and Spanish firefighters are struggling to contain the blaze which is roaring across the north of the island.

The towns of Sant Joan de Labritja, Portinatx and Cala de Sant Vicent have all been affected with up to 2,000 hectares of land destroyed in the fire.

No injuries have so far been reported, however, up 500 British and German tourists were forced to flee when strong winds fanned flames toward Sant Joan.

Local media reports suggest a 50-year-old amateur beekeeper accidentally started the blaze after he spilt hot coal whilst smoking his hives on Wednesday.

Police are believed to currently have the beekeeper in custody on charges of serious negligence, although he continues to protest his innocence.

Spanish authorities deployed 14 helicopters, seaplanes and other specialist aircraft to dump water and retardant on the fire.

Up to 300 soldiers and hundreds more firefighters are on the ground and have so far evacuated 200 locals and closed a nearby school.

Local mayor Antoni Mari Mari described scenes of chaos and drama last night but hoped conditions would ease on the Balearic island today.

‘Last night just one kilometre from Sant Joan the flames moved down the mountain putting the urban and tourist areas in extreme danger.’ she said.

British expats on the myspain forum said residents were scrambling to move animals away from danger as the fire moved in.

‘A friend of ours had to move his horses off his land. They are now staying at the same stables that we use,’ user Warren D wrote.

‘The people moving the horses said they could actually hear the fire. There are also some horses from other places that have been moved to the same stables, so it’s starting to get a little crowded.’

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